How digital transformation opened a new customer segment for Kennards Hire

The tendency for any organisation is to see customers the way you see themselves, says chief commercial officer of hiring company

customer-satisfaction-ts-100614586-orig.jpg
customer-satisfaction-ts-100614586-orig.jpg

The need for change can be difficult to accept for any business, especially for one that has been operating successfully for almost 70 years. But by embracing the need for digital transformation, family-owned equipment hire company, Kennards Hire, has found a new customer segment while improving service to existing ones.

Kennards recently redeveloped its Web presence from a static site to a dynamic hiring portal based on Magento, and the commercial results are exceeding expectations, Kennards’ chief commercial officer, Theo Triantafillides, says. A key benefit has been to attract business from a younger demographic.

“People who had never used Kennards before are the primary ones making their reservations and booking online, because they are finding us through digital search,” Triantafillides says. “We have reached into that younger demographic through a new channel, and it has been an eye opener.”

This result has helped vindicate the investment in the new site, which faced initial scepticism as to whether there was an unmet demand to hire equipment digitally.

“The tendency for any organisation is to see customers the way you see yourself,” Triantafillides says. “If we believe customers behave and consume in a certain way, we won’t be open to uncovering other demographics actually interested in consuming a different way.

Kennards hire chief commercial officer, Theo Triantafillides
Kennards hire chief commercial officer, Theo Triantafillides


“It is not until you put yourself into that position that you discover them. That’s what we’ve done.”

Triantafillides joined Kennards in November 2015, having previously held roles in sales and marketing in the logistics sector with Australia Post and Qantas. When he joined the company, it had already made a decision to pursue a digital future, but delayed its implementation.

The decision to select Magento was driven by a desire to adopt a best-in-class ecommerce platform, and bringing new processes and ideas into a very traditional industry. Together with its development and hosting partner eWave, Kennards worked to integrate a catalogue of more than 10,000 items, while also taking into account the variables and economics of the hire industry.

“There are a lot of complicating factors from an ecommerce point of view,” Triantafillides says. “While no one single thing is unique to Kennards or to rental, the combination of things is unique.

“We needed a robust platform to be able to cope with that and manage it, and be scalable for that variation.”

Changing the staff mindset

Transforming the website has also meant transforming other aspects of the company. Staff at Kennards’ branches had to be trained to handle the many reservations that would now be coming in overnight, to ensure inventory lists reflected reality.

And while Kennards had traditionally run a telephone-based customer support service, the introduction of Web chat meant significant care and training had to be undertaken to enable staff to deliver a personalised service through the new chat medium.

“Part of the customer journey is digital, and part of it is physical now,” Triantafillides says. “So how do you make sure that is seamless, and the experience is consistent through that process? We were very aware of making sure that, as much as possible, we replicated our value proposition in delivering the new service.

“At all stages, operational staff were included on the working group and participated in user testing, from functional specification onwards, and then we had customer groups get involved as well.”

While the priority to date has been around business-to-consumer interactions, Triantafillides says the next area of work will be focused on Kennards’ larger customers. Kennards will also mobilise the system for its branches, allowing team members to serve a customer at their vehicle as they come on site to collect or drop off with the addition of sign-on-glass functionality.

Triantafillides says a significant factor in the success of the project and ongoing transformation has been the entrepreneurial spirit of Kennards, which is still alive and well almost 70 years after the company was founded.

“The entrepreneurial DNA in Kennards is what made it possible, and that has been the core of our success to this point,” Triantafillides says. “We’ve disrupted ourselves and our own traditional thinking, and to me that has been of great value and will continue to be, because it has opened up minds to being more progressive and thinking in different ways.”

Read more about what digital transformation looks like at more Australian organisations:

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Microsoft's Pip Arthur

​In this latest episode of our conversations over a cuppa with CMO, we catch up with the delightful Pip Arthur, Microsoft Australia's chief marketing officer and communications director, to talk about thinking differently, delivering on B2B connection in the crisis, brand purpose and marketing transformation.

More Videos

Did anyone proofread this document before it was published?

Beau Ushay

CMO Momentum 2020: How to embrace agile marketing

Read more

he decision to limit the initial version of the code to two US companies is discriminatory and will inevitably give an unfair advantage t...

Azeem Sohail

Google hits out at ACCC draft code of conduct for news media negotiations

Read more

You’re a warrior woman from way back. Just let the muscle memory take over!

Hannah Sturrock

Why fear trumps marketing theory - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

What an inspiring piece of writing, Hannah, thank you so much for sharing! All right, team jersey out of the locker, brains on, eye of th...

Myriam Conrie

Why fear trumps marketing theory - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

Thanks for the post

Ashirwad Towers

How a brand facelift and content strategy turned real estate software, Rockend, around

Read more

Blog Posts

Creating a culture club builds ownership of teamwork

Workplace cultures are the sum of everyone’s beliefs, behaviours, attitudes and skills. This means that no single person is responsible for culture, it belongs to the team.

Colin D Ellis

Culture change expert, author

A Brand for social justice

In 2020, brands did something they’d never done before: They spoke up about race.

Dipanjan Chatterjee and Xiaofeng Wang

VP and principal analyst and senior analyst, Forrester

Determining our Humanity

‘Business as unusual’ is a term my organisation has adopted to describe the professional aftermath of COVID-19 and the rest of the tragic events this year. Social distancing, perspex screens at counters and masks in all manner of situations have introduced us to a world we were never familiar with. But, as we keep being reminded, this is the new normal. This is the world we created. Yet we also have the opportunity to create something else.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

Sign in